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by Thomas LaRocca / Los Angeles Kings
Like any other professional athlete, all Peter Harrold wanted was an opportunity.

And on Feb. 19, he got it.

That was the day the Kings traded Jaroslav Modry to the Flyers for a third round pick.

Combine that transaction with the ankle injury that has sidelined Rob Blake and the Kings are down one-third of their top-six defenseman.

Enter Harrold.

“That's what everybody wants is an opportunity to play and right now it looks like I have that at least until Blake comes back and maybe longer,” Harrold said.

On Saturday, he may have helped his cause, tallying his first NHL goal vs. Chicago’s Patrick Lalime to put the Kings up, 1-0. 700K

“Well I kind of shifted over towards the middle and my coverage stayed on the right side,” Harrold told Daryl Evans on Kings Talk, following his goal in the Kings 6-5 OT loss to Chicago.“Giuliano got [the puck] to me, I picked my head up a little bit and threw a wrister at the net and it kind of found its way through. 

“I saw it rattle around in the back of the net, I was pretty pumped. It is a cool feeling and I am glad to get it out of the way. Hopefully more to come.”

It was his 19th NHL game and seventh this season as the 24-year old, undrafted rookie makes his way in the NHL.

“As far as my game goes, things slow down a little bit the more experience you get, the more used to the game and the speed,” he said. “I am starting to get more comfortable back there and hopefully I will be up for a while.”

Harrold signed with the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 12, 2006, after three years at Boston College, where he was a teammate of fellow Kings prospect Brian Boyle. Harrold had his best year in 2006, being named a Hockey East First All-Star Team, as well as an NCAA East First All-American Team, getting the attention of the Kings front office.

Head coach Marc Crawford on Harrold:
“He’s a gritty, competitive kid. He skates real well and I think his decision making is a lot like Jaroslav Modry. He needs to learn to be a little more positional for his own good. I think Peter knows he always wants to error on the side of being competitive. Sometimes it’s better to be positional and pick your spots to be physical and show your prowess in that area.

“That comes with experience, so we’re expecting him to improve that in his play. He’s played well in the games he’s played this year.”

In addition to scoring 1-1=2, with a plus-1 rating in seven games with the Kings this season, he was an AHL All-Star, scoring 7-36=43 at Manchester. He was also up for 12 games last season, recording two assists over two separate call ups, earning an assist in his first game as a King, vs. San Jose on Nov. 22.

Scoring a point in his NHL debut may not have been the highlight for the Kirtland Hills, Ohio native.

On March 7 of last season, Harrold returned to Ohio as the Kings traveled to face the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, playing in front of family and friends and his older brother Josh, a coach with the USHL’s Ohio Junior Blue Jackets.

"We are very close, he has helped me throughout my career," Harrold told in March of last year. "I play hockey because I grew up watching him. I have always followed in his footsteps.”

Following the game, Harrold was returned to Manchester, where he scored 7-27=34 in 62 total games, adding 3-8=11 in the postseason.

That experience at Manchester has helped develop his game.

“Every time you go down there you have to make the best of it and work on the things you have to work on to get back here as soon as possible,” Harrold told reporters at practice after practice on March 19. “I was working mostly on making direct plays with the puck in my own zone and playing good, solid defense in the zone. That’s the biggest thing you have to do at this level to earn the coach’s trust.”

More games like Saturday and that should not be a problem.

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